EU buildings directive in turmoil amid push for hydrogen heating

(EurActiv, 30 Jan 2023) As negotiations within the European Parliament on the Energy Performance of Buildings directive head into the final stretch, political demands on heating become the centre of attention.

Heating in buildings is a key driver of energy consumption in Europe, where it is responsible for more than a third of the EU’s greenhouse gas output.

The EU’s buildings directive is currently being revamped as part of the bloc’s effort halve emissions before the end of this decade and become climate neutral by 2050.

Yet, the negotiations are politically sensitive, with EU countries only agreeing to a “fragile compromise” in October, which drew criticism for lacking ambition and undercutting the European Commission’s initial proposal.

In December, the Parliament’s chief negotiator on the file, Green Irishman Ciaran Cuffe, struck a first political compromise on the buildings directive among the assembly’s main political groups. Unlike the position agreed by EU countries, campaigners and experts described it as “ambitious” on climate.

To lock it in, Cuffe wanted a vote on the directive in the EU assembly by mid-January.

But the vote was moved to 9 February in a bid to give the Irishman more time to gather political support for the deal. Central to Cuffe’s efforts were moves to woo the conservative European People’s Party (EPP), the single largest faction in Parliament.

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EurActiv, 30 Jan 2023: EU buildings directive in turmoil amid push for hydrogen heating